COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "As you go home, go straight home. Don't talk to everybody. Make sure you're with a friend. If you make a detour or go to a friends house, your mother or somebody needs to know where you're at."
This was the message every student at East Columbus Magnet Academy heard from their principal, Kevin Scott, Thursday.
Counselors were also present after one of their own, a 12-year-old girl, was abducted at gunpoint while walking to school and sexually assaulted in a nearby park.
Police are looking for a black man in his early 20s driving a gold or tan Dodge Durango or similar model.
"There's been a lot of vehicles stopped today. The investigation is ongoing. There has been a $1000 reward offered other than Crime Stoppers. It's coming from an anonymous individual through an attorney here in town," Police Chief Ricky Boren said.
As school let out, volunteers from the House of Mercy were on hand to help walk East Columbus students safely home.
"Predators are all around everywhere so you have to take it upon yourself to try to let the kids know that they're safe no matter what. I think it's the right thing to do," said volunteer, Michael Oliver.
"You have an innocent 12-year-old that's out there, abducted, probably a trusting person. An adult picks that individual up under whatever pretext and then takes advantage of that 12-year-old. It's very serious and it's shocking anytime you have something like this happen in a community but we're going to do everything in our power to make sure this individual is taken off the streets," Chief Boren said.
The 12-year-old victim in this case has done preliminary interviews with police and officials say they have more scheduled with her.
Chief Boren is urging parents to take as many precautions with their children as possible as they continue their search for the suspect.
Columbus Police have released a detailed description of the suspect and his car.
He is described as a black man in his early 20s, slender, clean shaven with a close haircut and a little hair on his chin, between 5'11" and 6' tall.
He was last seen wearing darks jeans with a symbol on the pocket, white Air Force One tennis shoes and black and red layered shirts.
His car is a gold or tan Dodge Durango or similar model with a black interior, in good shape.